One of the motivators that led me into the financial services industry was a desire to help people get excited about money and learn how to take control of it. I’ve always been drawn to help people with the highest need. Having dug myself into almost every financial hole possible (and dragged myself out again), I am aware of how a little ignorance, combined with a healthy dose of avoidance, can make it easy for credit card companies and financial institutions to lure you into a debt trap.
I thought that becoming a financial advisor would give me an opportunity to make a real difference for people who were either struggling with money or looking for strategies to take control of their money and build wealth. However, what I learned very quickly is that, as a business model, this altruistic approach is a recipe for disaster because people who are struggling financially do not have money to invest in mutual funds or insurance products.
A Flaw in the Financial Services Industry
I do want to point out that there are some excellent financial advisors out there who genuinely care about their clients and take great care of them. However, one of the giant flaws in our financial services industry is that the majority of advisors earn their income through commission, which means, in order to stay in business, they have to sell financial products. Basic business principles dictate that, in sales, 80% of your income comes from 20% of your clients. Logic dictates that focusing on the 20% of your clients who provide you with 80% of your income is a smart business move. Unfortunately, this means that, in order to make a living, advisors need to focus more on attracting new clients than servicing existing ones. Plus, when it comes to service, the clients with the most money will get the most attention while the clients with the least, get very little. As an advisor who is far more interested in sitting down with people who are struggling and helping them get back on their feet than providing investment advice to high net worth individuals, it’s not hard to see why I found it difficult to thrive in the commission sales side of the industry!
Happily for me, a great job opportunity presented itself that allowed me to combine my experience as a financial advisor with my passion for helping others get excited about money without requiring me to sell anything in order to make a good living.
Yet, the more people I talk to, the more I realize how hard it can be to find impartial information and how important it is that people step up and take control of their finances and their financial future. The truth is that, no one should care more about your money than you do and, if you’re content to hand over the reins of your financial future to someone and just sit back and enjoy the ride, there’s a good chance that where you’ll end up is not where you’re expecting to be.
Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Finances
Your money is important. You work hard for it. It’s the means for you to fund your current lifestyle and your future needs. It puts a roof over your head and food on your table. It puts your kids through college, allows you to take epic vacations, and help causes and charities that matter to you. It gives you choices and options, and helps you protect all the things that mean the most to you. Money, literally, makes your world go ’round and yet, so many of us (myself included for more years than I care to remember) are content to ignore it and avoid managing it. In fact, we pay ridiculous amounts of interest just to get access to more money.
It’s not about making a fortune, it’s about building a better future and, if you give yourself a little education and a little time, that can be a lot easier than you would expect.